« Food & Drinks

Wisconsin Wines Are No Second-Class Citizen

by Jeff Flynt

For the first post of 2014, allow me to be one of the last to say Happy New Year. Then, allow me to continue to dispel the notion that Wisconsin can't produce high-quality, award winning wine.

Steve DeBaker, owner of Trout Springs Winery in Greenleaf, has grabbed a Best of Class Gold at the recent Grand Harvest Competition out in Piedmont, California.

DeBaker told me in an e-mail that, "This competition was based on terroir in different AVA regions of the country. This is the first best of class given to a winery within the most recent AVA (Wisconsin Ledge). Not only did Trout Springs compete against other wineries within the state, but then went on to take best of class against other wineries within the U.S. What was especially pleasing is that this wine was from grapes grown at Trout Springs' vineyard."

Trout Springs is one of just 26 wineries in the entire country to earn that Best of Class award. The name of the wine is Babordo Vino Vecchio, a Port wine. The Babordo Vino Vecchio is made from French-American hybrid grapes grown right at the Greenleaf vineyard. It's a fortified wine aged a minimum of 7 years in a French-American oak barrel. Just one barrel is released yearly, so its rarity just adds to the allure. 

As I have reported previously, Wisconsin wines are great. If you haven't taken the chance to visit Trout Springs or another vineyard in the Badger State, you're truly missing out.

Steve DeBaker did the heavy lifting in getting the Wisconsin Ledge AVA designation off the ground. Now, DeBaker is garnering the national recognition for both the region and the wines produced here.

I couldn't be more pleased to say I have been to the vineyard and to have met Steve. He is truly an artisan and wealth of knowledge about what it takes to make world-class wines. Bravo and cheers Steve, you deserve it!

(Photos courtesy of Trout Springs Winery)